What A Liszt Player!

Review by: Jed Distler

Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 9

Mischa Dacic’s formidable Lisztian reputation is completely borne out by the stunning virtuosity and passionate, fearless embrace of the composer’s idiom that he displays throughout this disc. His interpretation of the B-A-C-H Fantasy and Fugue matches Marc-André Hamelin’s staggering precision and coiled intensity, but with more fanciful inner voices and tempo modifications that detract not a whit from the music’s contrapuntal rigor. Dacic’s spacious account of Les Cloches de Genéve projects the relatively sparse textures in seemingly three-dimensional layers through imaginative pedaling. The Grosses Konzertsolo boasts generous dynamism, effortlessly sweeping arpeggios, and proudly rhetorical bass lines.

Dacic begins the Dante Sonata quietly and takes great care to scale his dynamics so that we follow the melodic trajectory of the largely predominant octaves. The little expressive teasings and wry accents that Dacic sprinkles across the Ninth Hungarian Rhapsody help to keep this brawny opus afloat and interesting; it’s too often banged out in a heavy-handed manner. And in contrast to many slow, flat performances of La Lugubre Gondola No. 1, Dacic’s animated basic tempo, skillful legato pedaling, and tonal gradations give the music shape and meaning without compromising its intentionally stark qualities. Occasional stage noises, audience murmurings, and big intakes of breath on Dacic’s part will not detract from the immense conviction and communicative immediacy of these remarkable performances.



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Recording Details:

  • LISZT, FRANZ:
    Fantasy & Fugue on B-A-C-H; Années de pèlerinage: Les Cloches de Genéve & Après une lecture du Dante; Grosses Konzertsolo; Hungarian Rhapsody No. 9 (“Le Carnaval de Pesth”); La Lugubre Gondola No. 1

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